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The 30-day Sugar-Free Challenge

The 30-day Sugar-Free Challenge
Photo Credit: Boaz Yiftach at freedigitalphotos[dot]net

Sugar (especially in the form of chocolate!) is a treat we all love and crave. Unsurprisingly, over the winter months I found myself consuming more chocolate, sweets and cakes than usual. I would always overindulge with those extra chocolate brownie bites, and let’s face it, when its bite size it does not seem so bad. So when I tried the 30-day Sugar-Free Challenge, it really showed me how dependent I was on sugary foods and helped me make better food choices.

It is easy to become negligent when it comes to food, diet and nutrition. When you go to the supermarket, you see more junk food aisles than healthy food ones. We see fast-food chains on every high street and advertising from the food industry is constantly bombarding us with images of sweets, chocolates and junk food. In fact, we’re more bombarded now than ever before with unending images of food and indulgence on social media sites. This constant exposure and temptation has made us accustomed to unhealthy food choices and bad eating habits. Continue reading

Manage Depression and Bring Back Your Productivity

Manage Depression and Bring Back Your Productivity - Productive MuslimDepression is like being stuck in a deep, dark dungeon. The walls are dull and there are no windows. You feel suffocated and disturbed all the time. Your head feels empty and you feel lifeless: like all your abilities and energy have been sucked away by a black hole.

The worst part is, no one seems to understand the mental pain you are going through. People label you and call you lazy, moody and selfish.

I’ve been through severe clinical depression and would not wish that mental agony for anyone. But despite the pain, Allah taught me many precious lessons through my depression. This illness has shaped me into the person I am today and I do not regret having this disorder.

When I was actually having depressive episodes, I wished someone would teach me how to manage this deathly affliction. But that never happened. That’s when I learned the valuable lesson that when you can’t find a shady tree, plant one.

“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves.” [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 11] Continue reading

How to Be a Productive Patient (Part 3)

How to Be A Productive Patient (Part 3) - Productive MuslimTurning to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and being a compliant, educated patient, which we discussed in detail in Part 1 and Part 2, are mostly concerned with the individual’s inner state and attitude toward their disease. However, human beings remain social creatures who need other people in their life to share their joys and sorrows with. As our role model, Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was accompanied by his best friend Abu-Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) on the hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah), while the Mother of the Believers Sayyida Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) comforted her husband when he returned home in shock after his first encounter with Archangel Jibril (Gabriel) 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him).

Likewise, a sick person in particular needs a support system to cope better with their situation and receive both moral and physical support. This support system consists of family, friends, the medical team, and sometimes even strangers who have had a similar experience. All of the aforementioned categories of people have helped me greatly throughout the years in many different ways—from hugs, personal assistance, and hospital visits, to lengthy conversations and invaluable words of advice and encouragement. In the third and final part of this series, I will focus on some tools related to social interactions. Continue reading

How to Be a Productive Patient (Part 2)

How To Be a Productive Patient Part 2 -Productive MuslimPart 1 of this series covered medical-related advice that is meant to equip patients with the knowledge they need to manage their disease effectively as well as improve their quality of life and maintain good health.

In Part 2, I move on to the spiritual tools, which every Productive Muslim cannot do without during any trial, including severe or sudden illness. Know that in spite of advances in modern medicine, the outcome of any treatment, progression of any disease, and how our entire body functions, lies within Allah’s dominion, not science or a world-renowned surgeon. He subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is whom we turn to in times of need and supplicate with a sincere heart, expecting good. Continue reading